The workspace switcher applet is now able to show a visual representation of your workspaces, with little cubes for the windows inside of them :)
In the example above you’re looking at two workspaces with three windows each.
A couple of things to consider:
- This hasn’t been themed yet, so it should look nicer by the time 2.8 is released (hopefully).
- I’m using dual monitors at the moment, that’s why the workspaces look so large (one window on each workspace is on the right monitor).
- The workspace switcher applet is still also able to represent workspaces with simple 1, 2, 3 buttons. That’s now configurable in the applet settings.
- Hovering on a workspace displays its name in a tooltip.
- The right-click menu now also allows you to remove the current workspace.
The reason I worked on that is because I’d like to make it easier for novice users not only to use workspaces but to discover them and to quickly understand what they are and how they work. So there’s a couple of changes which are being considered for the next Linux Mint release:
- The window-quick-list applet would be removed from the panel by default.
- Cinnamon would ship with only one workspace by default.
- The workspace-switcher applet would be present in the panel by default, probably in visual mode.
As a user spawns applications and windows, his attention would soon or later be caught by the little visual representation mimicking his screen. He’d see “Workspace 1” when hovering it and as clicking on it didn’t do anything, he’d eventually right-click and see “Manage workspaces (Expo)”, “Add a new workspace” and a greyed out “Remove the current workspace”. Expo might be intimidating but any click would bring him back where he was. Adding a new workspace would result in that visual representation he already got himself familiar with (I’m hoping I’m not making an assumption here..) show another area.. clicking on it would switch workspace, show the name in OSD, and all that is animated to give the sensation of going towards the right.. the applet being still there he could make his way back easily.
The challenge then is to make it look good. That applet doesn’t look like the other ones, it’s got the potential to take space and in its initial form, when no windows are shown.. it can look a bit empty and out of place.
If we manage, then it might make workspace discovery much simpler (yes, I know.. we just reinvented MATE here, I know) :)